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Multiagency Coordination and Response: Case Study of the July 2005 London Bombings

NCJ Number
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume: 32 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2008 Pages: 89-109
Date Published
21 pages
In evaluating the response to the bombings in London's underground subway system and transportation network on July 7, 2005, this study analyzed the response using the General Coordination Model defined in prior research (Eyerman and Strom, 2005), which identified four prevalent barriers to a coordinated emergency response: poor communication, ineffective leadership, cultural differences among responding agencies, and legal and structural differences among responding agencies.
Study findings indicate that although responding agencies experienced some coordination challenges during and immediately after the attacks, major problems were minimized because of the London-based coordination regime that helped establish the required cooperative structure and procedures in advance. The efficiency of the response was facilitated by a familiarity with roles and responsibilities, a command and control system that began operating immediately after the bombings occurred, and mutual aid agreements that were successfully triggered and applied. These findings confirm the importance of a multiagency strategy that is supported by careful planning, committed effort, and creativity in coordinating responses to specific conditions that arise from a particular disaster or attack. Periodic pre-event training that involves all emergency-response agencies that would be involved in a major emergency is required to address communication issues; define goals; and address any differing cultural, structural, and legal norms among responding agencies. Data and information used in the analysis applied under the General Coordination Model was obtained from interviews with key staff of the London agencies that responded to the bombings. 2 figures, 5 notes, and 33 references

Date Published: January 1, 2008